How’s your week going? I just got home from Vancouver last night and sadly, it’s back to reality today. Regular Try Something New Tuesday Recaps will resume next week, but I wanted to share some more of my vacation happenings with you – specifically the food-related ones. Vancouver has some great restaurants for health-conscious foodies and there are a few that I think you need to know about.
On most days we ate breakfast at Urban Fare, a mini Whole Foods-like grocery store with a café near our hotel. For lunches and dinners we tried a few places nearby and hopped in a cab for the others. The winner by far was Heirloom, which we ate at not once, not twice, but THREE times. I included a few shots of our first visit, as well as our pre-race dinner at Joey Burrard in Monday’s race recap, but here’s a mini review for each restaurant we tried after Seawheeze in case you happen to be planning a trip to Vancouver.
Cactus Club Café
We ate lunch at the Bentall location, which was an easy walk from our hotel downtown. Cactus Club salads never disappoint me and the one I ordered on this occasion was beautiful. Known as the Raincoast Salad, it consists of a huge pile of mixed greens, avocado, hard boiled egg, grilled chicken, blueberries, tomatoes, peppers, and the most delicious sweet and spicy pecans I’ve ever had. The service was fantastic and everyone left feeling totally satisfied.
I’d heard a TON about The Naam from various friends who have been in Vancouver in the past, so we made sure to stop in to see what all the fuss was about. This ended up being our post-race lunch spot, and we arrived at about 12:15. We needed to leave by 2, but unfortunately we didn’t realize that they stop serving brunch at 1 and only at that time does the lunch menu become available.
We soon found out that this seems to be a no-exceptions-allowed rule which was a bit disappointing. There were some great things on the lunch menu, but on the other hand it’s understandable given the size of The Naam’s very small kitchen. To say we were hungry was an understatement, and while a couple of us found dishes on the brunch menu that sounded good, others did not.
We ended up ordering a few dishes from the brunch menu and a few off the lunch menu when 1pm came, but didn’t feel like the service we received was as great as the other places we visited. I had the Screamin’ Greens Breakfast Salad which sounded good on the menu but came out looking a little sad in comparison to my other meals.
I’d love to go back in the future to give The Naam another chance. If it happens to be on your list of places to go, be aware of the 1pm lunch menu rule!
This was more of a snacking location than a meal stop, but a very tasty experience nevertheless. My roomies were craving gelato which we found plenty of, and it looked lovely, but I had something else on my mind.
These are the maple-candied salmon nuggets that my aunt introduced me to at Granville Market last summer, and they are by far my favourite thing there aside from the piles of fresh, vibrant produce. They’re small chunks of smoked salmon with a sweet, almost shell-like maple-y exterior and given the chance I’d eat them every single day.
So while the others enjoyed their gelato, I was “that girl” eating the fish out of a plastic bag. #Awkward, yes I know. But I totally didn’t care. We ran Seawheeze that morning and I’d been dreaming about these nuggets since last summer.
The Boathouse – Kitsilano Location
The Boathouse is one of my all-time favourite Vancouver spots and I’ve made a point of dining there once every summer for the past 3 years. The atmosphere is amazing, with breezes coming off the ocean and tables overlooking Kitsilano Beach. The sunset is so beautiful and I always seem to take at least 10 shots of it every time we’re there!
This was a family dinner (my roommates were some of my besties but unfortunately none of them are big seafood fans!), and we ordered 3 appetizers to start – crab cakes with mango salsa, firecracker shrimp, and my absolute favourite, tuna tataki. The tuna had a sesame seed crust and came with a really nice Asian slaw, and I pretty much demolished this one on my own. 🙂
For my entree I had the Seafood Chop Chop Salad, which is pretty much my I-just-died-and-went-to-heaven meal. It comes with a grilled salmon fillet, scallops, shrimp and a hard boiled egg on top of a big mound of mixed greens. I chose the citrus vinaigrette as my dressing and it was absolutely freaking amazing. The foodgasms were UNREAL.
My dad ordered seared scallops which came with a wasabi and edamame mashed potato mixture as the side. The sauce on them was similar to a teriyaki glaze, and he mentioned it was a little overpowering but still very tasty.
Heirloom Vegetarian Restaurant
As mentioned, Heirloom was the group favourite. We dined here on Friday for lunch, Saturday for dinner, and on Monday night for our last dinner together.
Saturday was a meet-up with our Vega friends and some other bloggers who flew in to run Seawheeze, and in my opinion this was the best night of the entire trip. A group of about 15 of us shared a whole bunch of Heirloom’s appetizers, including…
I had to stay away from the fried stuff because my stomach doesn’t agree with it, but could have eaten a bowl of beet and sunflower tapenade from the crudite plate because it was so good.
For my entree, I tried the Raw Falafel Salad – organic greens, crumbled almond falafel, cherry tomatoes, cucumbers and green peas served with coconut yoghurt dressing. When the dish came out I didn’t see very much of the crumbled falafel, so I asked for a side of chickpea tempeh to put on it as well. This was really tasty and was deceptively very filling. It turned out all the falafel bits were under most of the salad greens and had I known that, the chickpea tempeh probably wouldn’t have been necessary! Regardless, both were awesome.
There were plenty of other dishes enjoyed at our table, all of which had really nice presentation. Here’s a few of them:
I’m so grateful for Vega who hosted this fabulous meet-up. It’s amazing how connections that start out as Instagram or Twitter follows can turn into such strong in-person friendships and I’m really looking forward to seeing all of these wonderful people in the future.
Our final Heirloom trip was on Monday, and we were joined by our friends Alejandra and Krysten. There was one appetizer on all of our minds, and that was Heirloom’s nachos. The chips are made of taro, yam and beets and they come topped with spicy cheese sauce, pickles, bean mix, salsa and guacamole. While I found these pretty salty, they were still really, really good! We scraped up every last bit on the plate and didn’t let any go to waste. These guys beat regular corn-based nacho platters hands down.
Since the All Greens Salad that I ordered on Friday was so great, it was also my last Vancouver meal of choice. Zucchini noodles, spinach, cucumber, fennel, snap peas and pea shoots with a creamy avocado dressing, topped with a fried egg and walnuts… and it tasted even better than the first time.
If you happen to be visiting Vancouver and go out for just one meal, I’d recommend making this your dining destination. The staff are so friendly and helpful, and I haven’t found a single thing on the menu that I haven’t enjoyed yet!
As you know, I’m a huge fan of Vega’s products, but their people and corporate culture are even more remarkable. We went for an office tour and enjoyed lunch in the kitchen, which I’m sure you’ll agree does not look like your standard corporate cafeteria…
Yes, that’s buckets of organic veggies and plant-based salad mix-ins like hemp seeds, pumpkin seeds, Daiya vegan cheese, chickpeas, roasted beets, and plenty of homemade dressings. We each made massive salads out of Angela-approved bowls (as in, they were huge), something that Vega’s employees have the luxury of enjoying every day.
The kitchen is fully equipped with fridges, an oven and stove, Vitamix blenders, and bulk amounts of plant-based whole foods. If you’ve ever wondered whether or not the people behind the brand walk their talk, the answer is most definitely YES!
At this point you may be wondering, “so after the race, did they do anything BUT eat?” The answer is yes. The day after Seawheeze we met up with my blogger friend Deryn for a hike up the Grouse Grind, a 2.9km very-vertical hike up Grouse Mountain, commonly known as Nature’s Stairmaster.
The total elevation gain was 2,800 feet and visitors are only allowed to hike UP the mountain for safety reasons. Once at the top, we took a gondola down to the bottom but that wasn’t before taking heaps of photos of the breathtaking scenery.
In addition to the Grind, we walked almost everywhere. Vancouver is a super pedestrian-friendly city and along with the Maps app on our iPhones, we were able to navigate our way around easily.
On Monday morning, Christina and I got up for an early run near Stanley Park and along the Sea Wall. The weather was beautiful for the entire trip and this particular run was considerably more relaxed than two days prior when we were racing on it! If I lived there, you can bet I’d be on this route every single day.
And that friends, is a wrap! This week’s posts have been huge but it’ll be back to normal on Friday. I hope you have a fab day, and I’ll see you soon with a brand new workout!
Now over to you. Tell me…
- When you travel, do you tend to dine out based on recommendations or just based on whatever’s close/convenient?
- For those of you who are runners or cyclists, what’s the most picturesque location you’ve ever run/cycled through? For me it’s Vancouver, closely followed by the beach in Melbourne, Australia.